What is a car rollover?

When a vehicle tips on its side or roof during a crash, it's known as a rollover. Depending on the force of the crash, a vehicle may roll just once, or it may roll multiple times before coming to a stop. Rollover accidents can involve one or more vehicles, but they're most common in single-car accidents and often result in serious injuries.

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What causes a car to roll over?

There are multiple reasons a vehicle may roll over, including:

  • Tripping: Tripping is one of the most common reasons vehicles roll over. It occurs when a car's tire hits something — such as a curb or ditch — that shifts the vehicle's weight to one side, causing it to roll before it can regain its balance.
  • Speeding: If you speed around a curve or take a turn too fast, the tires can lose their grip on the road, leading to a vehicle rollover.
  • Crashing: If you're in an accident and the force from the other vehicle is strong enough, it can tip your car.
  • Inclement weather: When the roads are covered in rain, snow, or ice, roads become slippery, making it easier to lose control of your vehicle, skid off the road, and roll your car.

Vehicles most likely to roll over

A rollover car accident is possible with any car, but SUVs, trucks, and vans flip more easily than other vehicles because they have a higher center of gravity. However, manufacturers have redesigned many models and introduced advanced safety features to help minimize the risk, making newer models less likely to roll over than older ones.

How does auto insurance cover a rollover car accident?

If you're in a rollover accident, your auto insurance may cover the damage if you have the right types of coverage. If another driver hits you and causes your car to roll over, their liability coverage should pay for the damage to your vehicle and your injuries, up to the limits of their policy.

But approximately 80% of rollover crashes only involve one vehicle. If you're in a single-car accident, auto collision coverage may pay for the damage to your vehicle — if you have it. If not, you'll be responsible for covering the repairs out of pocket.

Vehicle rollover prevention tips

Because vehicles are safer today, rollover accidents result in fewer deaths than they used to, but they still accounted for more than 6,000 occupant fatalities in 2019. Many rollovers occur when a driver loses control of their vehicle and is no longer on the road. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help prevent a rollover accident.

  • Choose a car with advanced safety features: Before purchasing your next vehicle, find out what features are included to help keep you and your family safe. Electronic stability control is especially helpful in preventing rollovers.
  • Maintain your tires: Your tires are the only thing between your vehicle and the road. Ensure they're properly inflated, balanced, and have enough tread remaining to keep your car stable.
  • Don't overload your vehicle: When a car gets too heavy, it becomes less steady. Don't pack cargo into your vehicle that exceeds the manufacturer's recommended limits. Avoid storing items on the roof — it makes the vehicle top-heavy.
  • Slow down: Speeding can make it more difficult to control your car, and if you lose control, you're at greater risk for a vehicle rollover.
  • Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving leads to millions of accidents every year. Keep your hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and phone stowed away while you're driving.

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